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Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE Review

Introduction

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE is a fast moderate wide-angle prime lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras.

It can also be used with APS-C models where it provides a 52.5mm equivalent focal length.

This new optic is comprised of 10 elements in 8 groups including 2 aspherical glass elements and 2 high refractive lenses, and employs an iris diaphragm with nine rounded aperture blades.

The Samyang FE 35mm f/1.8 lens features quick and quiet auto-focusing and has a minimum focusing distance of 29cm / 0.95ft and a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.17x.

There’s an Ultra Multi-layer Coating to help reduce flare and ghosting and it also boasts a new Custom Mode switch for changing the function of the focus ring.

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE lens retails for £359 in the UK and $399 in the US, where it’s known as the Rokinon AF 35mm f/1.8 FE.

Ease of Use

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Weighing in at 210 grams and measuring 6.4cm in length, the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE is a pretty small lens considering that it’s designed for a 35mm full-frame system.

It weighs about twice as much and is double the length of the tiny Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE lens, but that is the smallest 35mm lens for Sony cameras that we’ve ever reviewed.

As seen in the photos below, it’s perfectly suited to the full-frame Sony A7 III camera that we tested it with, even with the lens hood fitted.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Build quality is very good. The lens utilises a high-quality plastic housing and a metal mount.

The optical elements are made of high-grade glass and aspherical lenses have been included to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion.

This lens is sealed in four different places to help protect it from light dust, rain and snow.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

The focus ring is pleasingly wide and ridged for easier grip.

Focusing is usefully internal and manual focusing is possible when the MF mode is set on the Sony camera body.

Full-time manual focus override is not available, even if you choose the DMF focusing mode.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

There’s no distance and/or depth of field scale available on this lens.

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE has a wide focus ring given the overall size of the lens.

There are no hard stops at the ends of the range, though, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Polariser users should be pleased that the 58mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE is a quick performer.

It takes about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Sony A7 III that we tested it with.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

It’s also completely silent in operation thanks to its Linear STM auto-focus motor, making it very well suited to both stills and video use.

This is the latest Samyang lens to feature a Custom switch on the side of the lens barrel.

This allows you to set the function of the focus ring to your own preference, which is particularly useful if you always shoot using auto-focusing, as the ring then serves no purpose.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

By default it sets the focus ring to manual focus in Mode 1 and to aperture control in Mode 2.

Both modes can be further customized using Samyang’s USB Lens Station (more functions will be added in a future firmware upgrade).

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.8 FE ships with a very nice protective case and a petal shaped, plastic lens hood (SH-D2).

The lens accepts 58mm front filters.

Focal Range

The Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE’s 35mm focal length provides an angle of view of 63.6 degrees.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, were quite prevalent in our test shots, especially when shooting wide-open at f/1.8.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Light Fall-off and Distortion

With the Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE lens set to its maximum aperture of f/1.8, there is significant light fall-off in the corners. Stopping-down to f/5.6 virtually eliminates this.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Sunstars and Flare

The Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE is capable of producing quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 or f/22, as shown below, although flare does occur when shooting directly into the sun.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Macro

The Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, with a minimum focusing distance of 29cm / 0.95ft and a maximum magnification ratio of 0.17x.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the AF 35mm F1.8 FE lens, Samyang employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in very nice bokeh in our view.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several examples below for your perusal.

Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE
Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Samyang AF 35mm F1.8 FE lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.


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